Rodney's Wellness Retreat − a Comfortable Rustic Getaway on the Nature Island
Stay at Rodney's Wellness Retreat on Dominica's scenic Southern coast. The best beaches, hiking trails, and hot springs are just next door. We are an all-in-one stop for travellers and hikers with accommodations, tours, dining, plus scenic gardens for relaxation.
Guests have the choice of cottages, tents, or hammocks at our amply named "wellness retreat". Rodney's Wellness Retreat is situated on the former lime estate of Kanawa, on the outskirts of Soufriere village. Located just a few minutes walk from the start of Segments one and two of Dominica’s Waitukubuli National Trail. Additionally, we are only a short walk away from the Soufriere Sulphur Springs, Scotts Head Point, and the Tete Morne Mountain Ranges. Easy access to the other premier hiking destinations is available by car or bus.
Our signature CarRod's Gardens are one of the most soothing locations on Dominica. Enjoy the sounds of nature, complemented by therapeutic scents of herbs and fruits. Located in the Gardens are Kanawa Restaurant and Mayan Bar. We offer delicious local food and drinks to our guests and passing visitors.
Experience the beauty and history of Soufriere, just steps away. A short walk into the village, to find the majestic Soufriere Roman Catholic Church, the popular Bubble Beach, and the old estate works.
Rodney’s Wellness Retreat offers relaxation for the entire family. It is the ideal venue for events ranging from private wedding ceremonies and receptions to Sunday family luncheons.
History of Soufriere Estate….
Combined with its unique geographic and volcanic composition, it is known to be a site of archaeological findings reported being associated with Dominica’s now extinct Arawak (Taíno) Indians. Originally owned by French emigrant Joseph Bellot from Marseilles, France in the late 1800, the Soufriere estate was later sold to the Shillingford family who changed from cocoa cultivation to citrus, mainly grapefruit and orange.
An 18th-century house (remnants of which can still be seen) overlooking “Gleau Gayak” was used by the first owners to entertain their concubines (remnants of it can still be seen). In the late ’40s into the early ’50s, the estate was sold to L. Rose & Co Ltd. At that time war was rife in Europe and thousands of British soldiers were dying of scurvy, so lime was considered the magic cure. The new owners of the estate, L. Rose and Co Ltd. took advantage of the demand and allocated most of the estate to the cultivation of limes.
Cultivating limes and processing lime juice became the mainstay of the local economy and a key cultivator to the foreign exchange earnings of Dominica. Villagers from across Dominica came to work on the estate as skilled workers and artisans. The lime juice was actually shipped by barges from Soufriere jetty directly to the docks in Liverpool, England. Evidence of an old watermill can be seen at the old estate works.
… and its links to Rodney's Wellness Retreat
When the destructive winds of Hurricane David struck Dominica in 1979 the Soufriere estate was not spared as Soufriere was one of the worst-hit villages. Following David, attempts to revitalize the lime industry in Soufriere were not successful. The estate lands were then passed on to the government of Dominica for distribution to local farmers. During this period, Rodney Lewis, a former estate manager with the L. Rose Company, was able to purchase this portion of the estate which, during the heydays of the estate was known as Kanawa. Kanawa was the central nursery for the estate where lime plants and other citrus plants and fruits used for windbreaks were propagated.
A Bit Of Our History
A tropical agriculturalist by profession, Rodney Lewis started the process of re-cultivating a battered piece of land, not as a nursery this time, but to produce crops, fruits and vegetables -including limes- as his retirement hobby. He named this paradise “Jo Benna’s Farm” after his father, Bernard Lewis, who died when Rodney was only 15.
Rodney passed away in 1999, by which time Dominica’s lime industry was totally destroyed by the Thestasiastestasis virus. Bevin Lewis, who had always been around his dad, when he managed the Canefield and the Wallhouse Estates, was inspired by his father’s love of agriculture. He also had a passion for nature and particularly – the birds, fruits, insects, geography and volcanic attributes of the Soufriere area. A concept was in the making, and Rodney’s Wellness Retreat is the result – a project that continues Rodney’s legacy and expands upon the work he started.
A Garden and so much more
Oranges, cocoa, coconut, avocado, banana and other exotic fruits were introduced to the property. Euvilla Lewis, another of Rodney’s children, who also had a passion for Jo Benna’s Farm, brought her experience to the initiative, adding grapefruit and other tree crops to the mix.
Because of the excellent location of the property, adjacent to and surrounded by some of Dominica’s most incredible sights, Bevin saw a niche that could be tapped and therefore partnered with other family members to develop Rodney’s Wellness Retreat further.
An major flower – planting drive ensued, and the newly formed – company took the iconic lime as its logo. The newly created space was christened CarRod’s Gardens – an amalgamation of the Lewis parent’s names: Mom (Carmen) and Dad (Rodney). The Garden offers a place to relax, perhaps tasting its fruits or watching exotic birds, and provide the opportunity for everyone to experience their own little piece of paradise in Dominica.